5 years. May 5th.
When I was growing up, I never dreamed of the wedding and the Prince Charming and the little family like many girls dream of. In fact I often sneered at such “silly dreams.” “Silly girls” I would call them.
When I was young and my dad was my best friend I dreamed of being my dad. I dreamed of being strong, in charge, intimidating, and driving a big truck. I wanted to work hard, not need help but instead be the help others needed. I just wanted to be everything I saw my Dad to be. A husband never entered my dreams because frankly… I was the husband.
Growing up in the church, I was inundated with messages of what the perfect man/husband/dad/partner would be. He would obviously play guitar (poorly). He would obviously invite me into (pale and flaccid) prayed times. And he would of course plan daily devotionals (that would make anybody cringe). The messaging was constant and consistent, guitar, prayer, and devotions. Even writing this I can literally feel the bile rising from my stomach because I listened with confusion even at that age. I sat in the pew while the tight-pants-wearing preacher bullied all the men in the room for not “leading their families.” The men’s heads would hang either from shame or from scrolling their phones and I would sit confused—- if this was the picture of a true man of God, then what was my dad? He doesn’t play guitar? He doesn’t host these goofy prayer times? And he sure as shit doesn’t write little family devos for us? And if this is the true picture of a man of God….why does it make me want to punch someone? Why do i immediately feel controlled and stifled deep in my bones?! EW!
I struggled for years, I’m talking 17 years, To understand what I was missing?? You see I didn’t want to be lead by some weak-kneed, rule-following, panty waste. To be fair, I didn’t want to be lead at all. I knew from childhood that I was a leader. I’d look at my parents marriage and see two bosses, my mom working through her weekly bible studies, and my dad working 6 days a week to provide for our family. But the message from the pulpit never validated this. It always broke it down.
When I began dating, everyone around me would always say “you’re going to have to find a man who is even tougher than you. Someone who can hold you down. Control the wild in you. I can’t imagine what kinda animal this man will be but you’ll find him.” In the dating I could never quite figure out how it was all supposed to fit. Yuck, this guy has a big truck but doesn’t want me to drive. He wants me to sit front bitch! Never gonna happen. Ewwwww now this guy doesn’t like that I just said the words “front bitch” so immediately he’s out. I struggled to fit into the appropriate box of a christian girl dating a christian guy. Cringe. Cringe to the max.
The confusion of who I am and who a Godly man was supposed to be made for a very confusing hunt for a husband. A hunt that, to be honest, I never wanted to be in anyway. It lead to trying to adjust who I am, trying to adjust to being a good small girl. Just don’t drive the truck. Just stop being big. Why are you so intimidating?! Why are you so opinionated? Can’t you just be a good quiet girl?!
So I quit looking. I opened a business with my sister. I set lofty goals. I taught children and youth and went on mission trips. And I went on walks every single night with my best friend, Nick. A man who had been my friend for years. Who always let me be me. A man who never shrunk me, or looked shocked or embarrassed by my opinions. A man who never made me feel like I wasn’t good enough, feminine enough, quiet enough. A man who prayed and waited for sixteen years, SIXTEEN YEARS, to marry me.
Thank the Lord, truly thank the Lord above for the true man of faith who I married. A man who I watch day in and day out portray the character of Christ himself. A man who I sometimes lead, and I sometimes follow. A man who humbly, day in and day out, quietly, and without pompe or circumstance, serves teenagers in the community. Serves, and serves, and serves with tiny glimpses of reward scattered throughout. A tearful thanks from a student who struggled through a tough time, a meaningful hug from a kid who will simply miss the company of a kind and honest friend, a direct email from a principal who sees the value of an employee. These tiny moments of recognition in ten years of service.
THIS folks, THIS is a man of God. THIS, young women, THIS is a man of God. There are no stupid and creepy prayer times motivated by a sense of shame or duty or emotional manipulation. But there are times he’ll hold me close and plead to God the Father for our daughter. There’s no pre-planned devo of some shallow message he’s regurgitating from a coffee-bean-grinding preacher, but he does read one page a night of the Jesus story book bible right after dinner to us, to create a culture of bible-reading in our home. There’s no false attempt at leading worship, but there is blasting and belting “Ring and a Robe” while heading out to a date night.
Now that I’m grown, I find that I’m more like my dad than I could’ve dreamed of becoming. I work my tail off, I’ve got the truck, and luckily I learned, the last thing I needed was a man to make me behave. God always knew, I needed a man who was less concerned about behaving and more concerned about freedom.
So please don’t get confused friends, don’t get spun up in your search for a husband or in your continued respect and love for your husband. We know the character of God himself through how he was represented in Jesus. And HE is the true measure of a man. Jesus himself. A Man who Himself, was more concerned about freedom than He was about behaving. A man who was born a leader by his Godship, not by his manship. A man whose character and depth of authenticity changed the world. A man who I must say…NEVER lead a devo in his life.
I’m thankful for 5 years with my husband Nicholas, a quiet, hilarious, faithful, steadfast man of God who leads by example.